Various Essays on Running Disc Golf  Events and
Promoting Disc Sports

Following are a number of articles that have been collected to assist individuals in setting up disc sport programs in their own communities.  This webmaster would like to thank the authors for making their work available to the web wide world.

Rules of Disc Golf-a short version
How To Run a Smooth Awards Ceremony
The TD's List of Tools Not to Forget
Invitation to Move Up
In Praise of Players Packages
Triple Class Tournament Promo
How to Make Clubs Grow and Thrive
A Call to Arms...Length
Disc Golf: Fly It- You'll Like It
PDGA Matching Baskets Program
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Rules of Disc Golf-a short version

While these are not the official rules, they are useful for beginners who don't care about some of the more specific tournament rules.  Use these rules for explaining the basics for beginners.

1. Be earth-conscious: don't litter!

2. Disc golf is played like ball golf, using flying discs. One stroke is counted each time the disc is thrown, and when a penalty is incurred. The winner is the golfer with the lowest score.

3. Tee throws must be completed within the designated tee areas.

4. Order of play- After teeing off, the player whose disc is farthest from the hole always throws first. The player with the fewest strokes on the previous hole is the first to tee off.

5. Stance- Fairway throws must be made with the foot closest to the hole on the spot where the last throw came to rest. The other foot may be no closer to the hole than the foot on this lie.

6. A run-up and normal follow-through, after release, are allowed more than 10 meters from the hole. Inside 10 meters, a player may not step past his/her lie. "Falling" or "jumping" putts are not allowed.

7. A disc that comes to rest inside the Disc Pole Hole[r] or chains constitutes successful completion of that hole. A disc that comes to rest on top of the pole hole does NOT constitute a successful putt.

8. A disc that comes to rest more than 2 meters above the ground is considered out of bounds. The disc must be thrown from the ground directly below the suspended disc, with a one stroke penalty.

9. A throw that lands out-of-bounds is to be carried in and played from the point where the disc went out-of-bounds, with a one stroke penalty. Out of bounds areas include roads, water, pavilions, and walkways. Alternate recreational rules do not include penalty strokes, but you should still always carry your disc back in bounds and off of roads and sidewalks.

10. Never throw until the players ahead of you are out of range, and until the fairway is completely clear of spectators and park guests. Be polite and patient in waiting for others to clear your path or skip that hole and play it later.

That's it! Have fun!

This is a shorter revised list of the basic rules of disc golf. For the complete official rules refer to the PDGA rules book or WFDF rules.

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How To Run a Smooth Awards Ceremony

By Kathy Ignowski
Disc Golf Journal, July/August 1995

     A good awards ceremony can make an average tournament above average and a very good tournament excellent.  Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: a poorly run awards ceremony can drag a decent tournament down.  It's basic psychology: good or bad, we remember the most recent events and the awards ceremony is the last thing that happens.  Here's a checklist to make sure your event finishes with a bang.

Always Plan Ahead
You'd be surprised what a little planning can do.  As soon as registration closes, immediately put someone in charge of how many places will be paid in the pro divisions and how many amateurs will receive prizes.  Work up the prize envelopes ahead of time - not after the last round.  Just write on the outside of the envelope, (6th place Open - $25.00, etc.).

Whether or not you need staff to run an awards ceremony depends on your personal ability and the size of the event.  We recommend it no matter what.  Two or three people can work more efficiently than one person.  At the bare minimum, have one person make the prize announcements, the tournament director, and a person on the side by the prize table to distribute awards.  It's not a bad idea to have someone in charge of playoffs also.

Pros and Cons of Playoffs
The benefit of a final nine, or a playoff is it gives tournament staff the necessary time to prepare prize packages.  Another plus of playoffs is the chance to showcase the top players to the public.  But there are definite disadvantages.  Players want to get home, especially out-of-towners.  Playoffs can take longer than an hour, and then playoff scores have to be checked.  Before deciding whether to have a final 9 or playoff, determine how long an average round takes on your course.  Another important factor may be the size of the tournament: those participating in "A" tier tournaments may want a final nine more so than players in "C" tournaments.

Steps to Take
The last group has just turned in their last round scorecard.  Now what?  If you are not having a final nine, set a goal of a 30-minute wait until the awards ceremony.  Determine playoffs as soon as possible and send those players out right away.  The prize envelopes should already be made up.  Jot down a few notes for your awards ceremony speech - the order in which you want to present things and items you do not want to forget.

Awarding Divisions
Amateur and junior divisions always are awarded first, then Advanced.  Pro divisions should be awarded in the following order: Grandmasters, Masters, Open Women, and Open men.  Tip: always say the tournament score total for each player.  It's additional recognition for the player and it gives a skill reference between divisions (i.e. Amateur vs. Advanced).  And always announce where the player is from.

Prize Collection Protocol
 There seems to be two main ways for amateur prize recipients to collect their booty: immediately after they walk up to the TD for their handshake, or after their entire division has been called.  There really is only one procedure for professionals- immediately receiving an envelope of cash or a check and possibly a trophy.

Whatever method you choose, we strongly suggest using "funny money" for amateur prizes.  Funny money is marked play money you can buy at party stores.  Players are given an envelope with a predetermined amount of funny money.  Then they can choose whatever prizes they want.  I never enjoy being handed a sack of discs I don't even throw.

If ever the K.I.S.S. formula applies, it applies to  tournament speeches.  Keep It Simple, Stupid. Everyone of course wants to announce their upcoming tournaments.  Fine.  Remind them to keep it simple.  The flyer they should have passed out during lunch should provide all details.

 As far as the tournament director's speech, and the tournament director should have the last word - don't let someone jump up and steal your show - thank everyone for coming, thank your sponsors and your volunteers.  That's it.  You can be very brief but very sincere.  I would recommend trying to mention something unique that happened during the course of the tournament.  It isn't that difficult if you give it some thought.  Tailor your closing words to your tournament or else your speech may come across as canned and reheated.

Call Experienced TD's
Finally, keep learning.  There's no substitute for experience.  Most people are willing to share their successes and failures.  Start being a little more keen when you participate at an event.  Jot down ideas.  Be perceptive.  Soak it all in.  Even  a rookie TD's first awards ceremony can be glorious if he or she plans ahead, has the appropriate staff, and knows the protocol.

An efficient, memorable awards ceremony is what players will remember most from your tournament.  Keep players coming back by following the above suggestions!

This article appeared in Disc Golf Journal, July/August 1995.
Reprinted by permission from the author and Disc Golf Journal.

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The TD's List of Tools Not to Forget

When tournament day finally arrives, if you as a TD are not prepared you may regret it. Here is a list of supplies that may help you at being organized.   You might not need any of these things, but you may be glad you had them.

Players Lists
Zip lock bags for score cards (in case it rains)
Sharpie Markers
Air Horn (whistles do not work, trust me)
Rubber bands and paperclips
Cash Box
Ace Pool Jar
Payout Tables
Envelopes for organizing payouts
Some Sort of Leader Board or a lap top computer
Tape Measure (for CTP and OB disputes)
Wire Flags For Marking Alternate or Temporary Tees
Spare Trash Bags
Water Coolers and Ice
First Aid Kit
Prizes Players Packages
Hammer for Setting Alternate Tee Signs
"Disc Golf Tournament In Progress" Signs for posting at Park Entrances

Of course it takes more than a box of office supplies to run a tournament.  A good plan, plenty of sponsors and some help from others will really make it work.


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In Praise of Players Packages

There is some debate on whether to hand out players packages to tournament participants. Since most players go home from most tournaments without any prizes, players packages can be a nice perk for those who pay an entry fee and do not cash. Players packages can be given to all players or else to those who pre-register by a certain date (this can be a good incentive). If you have to keep a handle on this maybe the first fifty pre-registrants could get a package. Pro's like players packages as much as amateurs, do not forget them. The package can consist of items donated by sponsors or purchased with sponsored funds. It is questionable whether to pay for players packages out of entry fees. At some tournaments they don't have enough stuff to give everybody the same items. That is OK, do different packages for different divisions or shuffle them up randomly. In any case, try to drum up some extra sponsorship and give the players a little something special.

Here is a list of items that I have seen or heard of in players packages;
Mini discs from your tourney or from sponsors.
Food or drink coupons from your sponsors
Golf discs or
Tournament stamped premium discs. Available from Innova they are cheaper than regular discs and have some collector appeal, as well.
Tee shirts
Sun Glasses
Comic books
Golf towels
Water bottles

Northwoods Open does small duffel bags, perfect for spare travel discs.
Cedar Valley Classic gave Sharpie Markers among other items, a great idea!! we all use them.
The Octoberfriz had holloween toys and candy.
The Wisconsin River Open gives all of the women long stem roses.

These things are not players packages but still appreciated by the participants.
Dayrl Johnson of OKC gives cold soda drinks and pastachios away at his tournaments.
The Lake Monster Classic had a couple of six foot sandwiches at lunchtime.
Mike Newhouse's Harvest Open had really cool Holloween cookies and cider (thanks Stacy and Chasity).


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Triple class Tournament Promo

This is a flier  text we used for a triple class tourney


Beutiful Mead Park in Stevens Point will be the site of a Triple Class tournament on July 20, 9:00AM.

Format is noncompetitive with three rounds of 18 holes as follows;

Round #1 150 class-singles play with the lighter plastic.
Round #2 Vintage class-best shot doubles with seeded partner.
Round #3 Regular class- alternate shot doubles (reseeded).

Vintage class includes discs with non-beveled rims like regular throw and catch Frisbees and golf discs from the early days. There is a weight limit of 6.7 grams/centimeter of outside diameter. See the following list for maximum weights of approved discs.

150 class consists of any type of flying disc provided it weighs no more than 150 grams. There will be some loaner 150 class discs.

Regular class allows any PDGA approved disc used for golf. Seeding after the first round and again the second, will result in equitable teams for the doubles play.

Entry fee is $15 for all players. All proceeds are to go towards a second area course fund. Everybody will receive a disc (150 class or vintage) as part of their players package.

The triple class challenge combined with the doubles format should make for a great time, allowing players to develop new finesse skills using the different plastic. Please come support the cause, challenge yourself and have fun!

For more information contact Slap Happy @715/341-5240

VINTAGE CLASS DISCS To qualify as Vintage Class a disc must have:
1. A Rim Configuration of 75 or greater.
2. A leading edge radius of greater than 1.6 mm.
3. A weight of no more than 6.7 gm per cm of diameter.
4. A rigidity such that it will buckle when subjected to no more than 9.1 Kg of weight in the standard testing method.

Following are the disc specifications for approved vintage class discs:

Disc Rim Config    Diameter    Max Wt
Apple 96.25 26.2 cm 175.5 g
Birdie 98.25 21.1 cm 141.4 g
DDC Pro 91 23.5 cm 157.5 g
Fastback 84.5 23.7 cm 158.8 g
Floater 102.75 27.7 cm 185.6 g
Gopher 89 22.9 cm 153.4 g
Piranha 88.5 21.2 cm 142.0 g
Polecat 94 21.3 cm 142.7 g
Rattler 84.5 21.2 cm 142.0 g
Sky Streak 86.75 22.5 cm 150.8 g
Sky Styler 101.75 26.5 cm 177.6 g
Super Nova 97.25 26.9 cm 180.2 g
Upshot Putter 77.5 21.6 cm 144.7 g
Zephyr 78 24.1 cm 161.5 g
#5 HiTech Putter 101.5 25.9 cm 173.5 g
80 Mold 95.5 26.9 cm 180.2 g
100 Mold 97.25 24.9 cm 166.8 g
71 Mold 87.5 22.5 cm 150.8 g

Most any throw and catch Frisbee will qualify.
If you are not sure about a disc, bring it along anyway and we can make a determination.

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How to Make Clubs Grow and Thrive

By Paul Stephens
Disc Golf Journal, September/October 1996, p. 20.

The scenario: A group of disc golfers get together and form a club. Everyone's psyched. More tournaments, more players and possibly a new course. After a few months three members suddenly decide to extend the course, moving the tees back and making difficult pin placements. The other members get disgusted because they were left out of the decision-making process and quit. The casual players - the future of the sport - find the course changes too difficult and their numbers dwindle. The result: Within a year the course is seldom used- the same blood, the same attitudes, the same non-growth.

Clubs are often the difference in whether disc golf grows in an area or stalls like a drive hitting the first tree in the fairway. What does it take to get the average recreational player to join? Clubs have different ways to entice a new player to become a member. Sometimes it's a member making a concerted effort to corner new players and get them involved. Others draw people through the fun and challenge of leagues. Volunteering is a given, but if others don't step up, people can feel burned out and frustrated. But if a group can work together the results can be outstanding.

Daryl Johnson is treasurer of the Oklahoma City Disc Golf Association. With 100 members, he gives three reasons for the growth and success of the club: A large population, a short course, and a store that sells discs.

The first reason is obvious. Reason two: Johnson, who joined his local disc golf club in 1990, said a short course is critical in helping a new player increase his ability level. "A short course gives a person a certain level of confidence early on. Make it fun when you're still a casual golfer."

Keeping it fun includes maintaining a level playing field. The Oklahoma golfers run four mini-tournaments a week, which offers first-year, second-year, advanced and pro classes. Players pay $3. Amateurs receive hats, towels, and discs as prizes. The mini-tournaments allow people to gauge their skill level against other players.

The third reason is finding plastic. Johnson said a store which sells discs near the course "allows people to purchase discs whenever they want instead of relying on someone selling them at a course." He explained being able to buy discs at a store instead of out of the back of someone's car makes the sport more legitimate.

Southern Hospitality

The Mobile Frisbee Club has 350 members, with roughly 80 that pay $5 to vote on club issues. Jim Orum has been a southern disc golf mover and shaker for years. He states to keep membership going "you have to have a goal. If you don't have a goal, (the membership) will fizzle." When the MFC decided to put in a second course membership grew, but interestingly, after they raised enough for its purchase, interest waned. "Set goals. Once you've reached them, set new ones."

With five courses in Mobile and another two within 40 miles, these guys are doing something right. Orum lists several reasons. One thing he says is not to use the word tournament with new players. Instead the club hosts "tosses" where new players pay $3 or $5 and play in a league that matches their skill level. The club also posts a flyer for amateurs and pros even though it's for the same tournament. That way, he says, new players aren't intimidated by the more experienced golfers.

He noted that an ace pool can also have a certain draw. After a new player hit an ace for $500, several new golfers quickly signed up.

Going that extra distance-Orum said the sport needs more people like Mobile golfer Cecil McGuire, who has introduced more than 100 people to the sport. "He deserves a lot of credit-he'll bring the mayor out if he has the chance," Orum said.

Seizing the opportunity-Orum said new players tend to shy away from experienced players. "We tackle them and let them know we're there for them." That includes giving out instructions and handing out old discs. Orum said just about every experienced player has some old discs that turn over, which are ideal for people new to the sport.

Giving and Receiving

Why some clubs never take off or fail shortly thereafter is players don't know what's going on. Kim Jones, the treasurer for the NorCal Series and founder of the former Sacramento Disc Golf Alliance said a basic ingredient to any club is a bulletin board. "If people don't know what's going on, they can't help."

Jones said a major goal of any disc golf club is promoting the sport at schools and local recreation departments. She recommends Avair discs and short holes for the demos. She also believes all new players in tournaments should receive something.

Jones also used the words "burned out" in reference to clubs. She said it was difficult to find other players committed to volunteer their time. She said she felt guilty asking the same three or four people willing to sacrifice their time for tournaments, who then lost out on the chance to play. She's definitely burned out from running tournaments, doing demos and having five baskets stolen from area courses in the past three years. "I miss it, but I don't feel guilty about it," she says of the now defunct Sacramento Alliance. "I gave it 120 percent."

Her suggestions on avoiding burn out include not trying to accomplish everything yourself. Be realistic in what you're trying to do and have four or five other people willing to give some time for a common goal.

Shared Decision Making

In Mobile, club members who want to make a course change or pursue other club business must make a formal request. The proposal is put on the table for one month while the members discuss the issue. It's then voted on-no one has any more power than the others.

One thing Orum makes clear is the MFC does NOT cater to pros. "If you cater to pros, you'll go backwards. Cater to new people if you want to keep the sport growing-they'll eventually become your pros. If your advanced and amateur divisions aren't growing, you're doing something wrong."

Run the World's Biggest
Encourage a local store to sell discs
Let others participate in decisions.
Donate old discs to beginners
Run clinics and leagues for various skill levels
Have a short course (or at least short tees) for beginners.
Ask people to volunteer
Cater strictly to the local pros.
Be too hard on new players for a rules violation.
  Explain the infraction and move on.
Try and do everything yourself.

Paul Stephens

This article appeared in Disc Golf Journal, September/October 1996.
Reprinted by permission from the author and Disc Golf Journal.

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A Call to Arms...Length

By Burning Sphere
Disc Golf Journal, January/February 1996, p. 16.

  A decade ago we all felt the potential for disc golf was astronomical. Ten years later that potential has certainly not been met. Why? We lack the audience our sport is geared for. Out of the 500 courses in the world, 450 are championship-length. New players don't have fun when holes are over 500+ feet. People get confused when they can't see the hole on the first tee or get lost looking for the next tee. People don't have fun when their arm is sore after only seven holes.

  It all boils down to people having a good time. If they don't enjoy themselves the first time out, they're going to look for something else to do in their spare time. Pros have a tough time understanding this concept, usually blinded by their own spectacular abilities to throw a disc 400 feet. Big deal. It's a bitter reality when tournament time comes and the only ones watching their 50-foot putts are themselves.

  for our sport is to grow at a rate greater than it has, we must make changes and we must design courses for a bigger audience. Holes should average no more than 200 feet in length. Pro tees can be positioned anywhere on the course with or without tee signs, so why jeopardize losing new players with 300+ foot holes?

   Ironically, the ones who will gain the most from shorter courses will be the pros themselves when they find more players to compete against, more sponsorship, more friends. Let's head into the 21st century with a wide base of players. Maybe by then your neighbor may know who Ken Climo is!

Burning Sphere, Santa Fe

This article appeared in Disc Golf Journal, January/February 1996.
Reprinted by permission from Disc Golf Journal.

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Disc Golf: Fly It- You'll Like It

By Duster Hoffman
As it appeared in Lifestyle Sports Magazine.
Reprinted with the permission of Lifestyle Sports Magazine

This year the Badger State Games (BSG) will include one of the fastest growing new sports, disc golf, in its venue of amateur sports.  Disc golf was a "trial sport" in 1994's games and due to its popularity, has earned a permanent spot in Wisconsin's largest amateur competition.  The BSG disc golf competition will be held at Elver Park Disc Golf Course on madison's west side on June  28th and 29th.  Divisions include: Open, Advanced, Amateur, Masters (35 and older), Women and Youth (16 and under).

     Wisconsin currently has 17 disc golf courses and 4 more in the planning stages.  Madison's 2nd course in 4 years is scheduled for completion in 1997 on the east side.  Disc golf's popularity springs from a successful marriage of golf and frisbee.  The sport is inexpensive.  A golf disc costs less than $10 and there are no greens fees.  Any flying disc or "play-catch" frisbee can be used, but "hi-tech" golf discs fly much farther and are less affected by wind.

     The design of a golf disc provides "lift" much the same as an airplane wing, which enables the disc to fly through the air in contrast to golf balls, which are mere projectiles.  It has been said that "when a ball dreams, it dreams that it can fly like a frisbee."

The Throw

     Two things are necessary to make a golf disc fly: forward speed and spin.  Fast arm speed with a hard snap of the wrist (like snapping a towel) is needed for maximum distance.  The world record distance with a golf disc is in excess of 600 feet (over 2 football fields).

The Angles

     The next important step in throwing technique is to master the 2 attitudes of the disc at the release point, known as Hyzer and Mung.  Hyzer refers to the angle of the disc relative to the thrower's body and the ground.  If the edge away from the body is blow horizontal (tipped down) it has Hyzer angle.  Conversely, if the outside edge is above horizontal, the angle is called Anhyzer.

     Hyzer is used for unstable discs such as play-catch frisbees or when a slice (right to left flight for a right-handed backhand throw) is desired.  Anhyzer throws are used for overstable discs or to throw a hook short (left to right curves for right-handed backhand throws).

     Mung refers to the attitude of the nose (leading edge) of the disc relative to the ground.  For most drives, a flat horizontal angle of Mung is called for.  In order to "stall" a throw (to limit distance) a nose up attitude is needed.  For maximum downwind distance as well as putts into a strong wind, the nose should be slightly down.

The Disc

     A new player also needs to understand disc stability, which is a product of engineering design.  A stable disc is one that flies straight.  An understable disc will "tornover" or "hook" (left to right for right-handers), while an overstable disc will "hyzer" or "slice" (right to left for right-handers).

General Rules of Disc Stability

1. At slow speeds, all golf discs are overstable.

2. Within a disc type, the heavier disc will be the most overstable.

3. The newer the disc, the more overstable it is (as a disc gets beat-up, it will be less stable).

4. The harder the throw, the less overstable it will be (until it slows down --#1).

     Many new golfers make the mistake of using a disc that is too overstable or heavy for them.  Overstable discs are made for the advanced player who has developed proper technique and throwing strength.  New players should use under stable discs in the lighter weights, 140-160 grams (weight is written on the underside of all golf discs).  As their game develops, the disc they started using as a driver will become their upshot and short fairway disc.  Start with Aviars, X-Ds, Sharks, Panthers, Stingrays and Eclipses, and gradually work into Cobras, Ravens, Rocs, Gazelles, Hawks, Tracers, Cyclones and Typhoons.

     Aviars, X-Ds, Sharks and Panthers can all be used as putters as well as dirvers making single-disc rounds possible.  Aviar Putt and Approach, 86 Softies and Magnets were designed with putting in mind.

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PDGA Matching Baskets Program

news release:

The PDGA is pleased to announce that the initial recipients of the PDGA Matching Baskets College Program have been chosen. Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky and Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota were each awarded 9 baskets. Through a cooperative effort between the schools and the PDGA, 18 hole courses will be installed on each campus. Both courses are expected to be installed this fall.

The PDGA wishes to thank the Disc Golf Association and Innova-Champion, Inc., manufacturers of disc golf pole holes and baskets, for their assisstance and generous support of the PDGA Matching Baskets College Program.

The PDGA Matching Baskets College Program is an ongoing program. The PDGA has committed to awarding a minimum of at least two courses per year pursuant to this program. For further information, or to make application, please contact Mark Ellis at 313-591-3737 or .

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